Fête de la Musique (June 21)

fetedelamusique2014For one night only, Paris is a true party town late until the morning with Fête de la Musique, which is a singular free music festival celebrating the beginning of summer.  As a glitter of light from late dusk remains until nearly 11:00 p.m., this event, in which normally restrained Parisians party loudly until the early morning, is a great way to experience different musicians in a variety of venues throughout the city.  Celebrating its 35th year, all events are free, and it is not unusual to see musicians just set up and play in a plaza, park or even in an apartment building, playing throughout the night.  Jazz, rock, contemporary, traditional French music — all genres are fair game for this extraordinary night.  Expect to find musicians throughout all of the arrondissements of the city, but if you are searching for specific spots, go to Champs de Mars, Les Invalides, Avenue Champs Elysees, Chatelet, Bastille, Parc Monceau, Le Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and Sacré Coeur.

Roland Garros 2016 — Top Places to Visit

Roland Garros.jpegThe French Open is about to finish  its 125th year at Roland Garros in Paris, with the Men’s Championship Match held on June 5. assuming rain delays do not push out the event further.  What is not so well known is that nearby is the haute Village d’Auteuil, in the 16th arrondissement, which offers an array of great restaurants, bistros, brasseries and fashion shops for those in need of new clothes or shoes. Read More »

Printemps à Paris (Spring in Paris)

Trees are sprouting leaves, flowers are in bloom, sparrows sing wake-up melodies at dawn, and morning rain cleans the narrow cobble stone streets. It is spring in Paris. With spring sun giving a shimmer of warmth and sunlight from the dull, grey days of winter, people are donning sunglasses, hitting the cafés, and sitting outside on the terraces to take it all in. Children (and adults) tend to skip, not walk, and smile a little more as the sun now pierces through the clouds beating down on them. The jardins are now a venue for a pique-nique lunch, or afternoon snack. Read More »

Easter In Paris

Pâques (Easter and Passover) in Paris is all about chocolate, easter eggs, and fun activities for children.  Windows of chocolate shops are lined with ornate chocolate eggs, some the size of American footballs, for sale (and eating) during the holiday.  Themes for this year are traditional, with ornate chocolates made in the shapes of hens, rabbits and birds nests.  Top chocolate shops, including Maison du Chocolate, Lenôtre , Pierre Herme, A La Mere de Famille, Jean Paul Hevin, Hediard, ServantDebauve & Gallais, all have different creations, with ornate eggs, chocolate bears, chocolate chickens and other hand-crafted chocolate pieces that are available only during Easter. Read More »

Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen

Picture 496.jpgMany of us come to Paris for the shopping but, if designer stores on the Champs Elysées aren’t your style, there are other options.

Determined to have a real Parisian shopping experience, I decided to look into something a little more off the beaten path. When I heard about the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, I knew that I had found my solution. With over 2,500 stalls that are nicely separated into individually named specialty markets, there is something for everyone.  Being the largest flea market in all of Europe, it’s not hard to see why it attracts between 120,000 to 150,000 visitors each weekend. Read More »

Marché des Enfants Rouges

marche enfant rouges1.jpgParis is renowned for many things; its art, its architecture, its style, but perhaps most of all for its food and drink. Where else in the world can one find so many boulangeries, patisseries, fromageries, cafes, bistros, bars, markets? Is there any other nation that is so famed for the quality of its cuisine? Probably not, although I’m sure some beg to differ.

Despite these glorious facts, however, lies a dark truth; eating and drinking in Paris, like many things alas, ain’t always cheap; between the artisan croissants, ‘authentic’ brasserie experiences, and sometimes-extortionate coffee prices, visitors to the city (and probably residents too) often find themselves going to the bank for extra euros long before their food budgets should have run out. After even a few days here, all those croque monsieurs and steak tartares start adding up, leaving one exasperated as to where to turn, especially if the weather is not suitable for an al fresco baguette and cheese picnic (my prefered way of balancing the books when I’ve gobbled one too many expensive patisserie item)….. Read More »